Menstruation can be a controversial subject, leaving it dubbed with things like “that time of the month” or “the monthly curse”. Generally speaking, our western society views menstruation as dirty; Something that needs to be hidden and not acknowledged. We are trained to stuff ourselves with bleach contaminated tampons or soak up our blood with pads that are saturated in chemicals. Why has societies perception of our bleeding changed so dramatically over the years? When did we start to feel the need to hide our body’s natural cycles?
Menstruation used to begin later in Women’s lives that it does currently in youth today. Prior to the 20th century, majority of Women did not begin their cycle until their mid-late teens. Comparatively, girls today starting their cycles as early as eight years old. The dramatic shift is quite absurd. What caused this rapid development of women today? In my opinion, chemicals have something to do with it. Xeno-estrogens especially. Xeno-estrogens are terrible by products that are abundant throughout the environment, due to pollution and overuse of chemicals.
Why can simple chemicals influence Women’s bodies so significantly? As I stated, chemicals are xeno-estrogens. Pollutants. They are synthetic forms of our naturally occurring hormone, estrogen. These fake forms of estrogen mimic our natural estrogen and have been known to damage our hormonal balance. These imbalances can lead to a host of health issues for both women and men. Xeno-estrogens can severely affect our menstrual cycles, menstruation beginning at early ages being an example of this.
Xeno-estrogenic substances were much less common and used more infrequently before the 20th century. Today, the infertility rates among women are sky high. Link to the chemical use and production? I’d say.
Here is the situation: These xeno-estrogenic substances are in the commercial menstrual products used by most Women today. Tampons and pads are concentrated with the chemicals dioxin, rayon, and asbestos which are all xeno-estrogens. Rayon serves the purpose of absorbency in the pads and tampons, while dioxin is a chemical known to cause bleeding. Could there be a relationship to dioxin added to menstrual products to increase women’s bleeding so women need to use more of these menstrual products with each cycle, thus further supporting the menstrual product industry? Interesting correlation. Not only that, but the chemical asbestos is common in these products. Asbestos is an irritant that can also cause excessive bleeding. Dioxin is toxic to the reproductive and immune system, and has been known to cause endometriosis (irregular bleeding/infertility which is very common among women today.) Rayon creates a breeding ground for dioxin within the vagina (from the use of tampons) by leaving fibers behind in the uterus. This process has been known to lead to toxic shock syndrome, because leaving the toxic tampon in for extended lengths of increases this breeding ground, creating greater susceptibility.
No wonder women developed their cycles later in life and were not plagued by these illnesses related to menstruation as often. Women were not ashamed of their blood in traditional cultures, or even just before the 20th century! “When they menstruated, they left a trail of blood behind them.” ~ “The Indisposed Woman” Pfaffenweiler, Germany 1991. Our ancestral Grandmothers gathered women to bleed together, and celebrate their menstruation. It was viewed as holy and sacred. Some cultures believed it to be such a powerful time, that women would be directed to retreat to their “Moon Lodges” during menstruation, where they would spend time in solitude or with other bleeding women. It has been said in some cultures that menstruation is so powerful it can override the power of any other ritual or ceremony, if a bleeding woman is present during it. This is why women could not partake in sweat lodges during menstruation. In India and many other places and cultures, menstrual blood was prized, and shared discreetly with the intention to derive strength and power from it.
In earlier ages, women simply used cloth pads which they would wash and reuse, over and over again. This trend is coming back again. The knowledge of the chemicals used in the commercial products is spreading, so women are starting to turn to a safer, natural route. On the market today, there are several companies who sell organic cotton menstrual pads. They are completely reusable, washable, and comfortable!
This is my current care method during my bleeding time and it has been working great for me. It feels good to allow my blood to spill freely, without feeling stopped up by a tampon. On a spiritual and emotional level, consider how using a tampon to stop up your bleeding could be effecting you. Could it perhaps be a “stopping up” of the emotions, rather than letting it all move through naturally? Bottling it all up and keeping it hidden? For me, using a tampon resembles lack of expression. Our menstrual cycle is an expression of our femininity and power. Using cloth pads to catch my blood is allowing the natural cycles of my body to flow while I avoid the absorption of toxic chemicals by refraining from using commercial menstrual products. I feel at ease using the natural pads, comfortable in my cycles, and in a positive place with my health. I have seen phenomenal changes in my well-being and self-love simply through the converting to natural menstrual care.
It is time for us women to take back our power, holding our bodies and our blood with holiness. When we honor and care for our selves, it is mirrored within our community, and mirrored into the world. Find a menstrual method that works best for you! Your blood is sacred, as is your being. Love it all up!